Annual Inspection: The first annual on my RV-8
Annual Condition Inspection: Wow a year went by fast! August 2nd, 2011 marked a year since I signed off the inspection on my newly minted RV-8. Nine days later I would fly her for the first time (another story for another day).
Having flown the airplane a paltry 66 hours in the preceding year I wasn’t expecting to see anything worn out, but conversely it was the first year it had flown so there was bound to be somethings that needed attention.
The first order of business was to print out a condition inspection checklist donated by Brian Wallis over at Vansairforce.net – the only place to go if you are into RVs. I modified the checklist a little to suite my needs, but it’s very complete – thanks Brian!
I then proceeded to take off the cowl, floorboards, side panels, wheel pants, fairings, and inspection covers – whew there are a lot of screws to put back in…
The first thing I found was the baffling around the #3 cylinder was contacting the fiberglass cowling – cutting two shallow slits. I trimmed away the excess baffling – problem solved. Next I noticed an issue with the my breather tube, which routes down through the engine mount trellis and out of the bottom of the cowling. It was slightly rubbing one of the steel cross-tubes on the engine mount so I put an adel clamp on it to eliminate the contact. I also found that one of the alternator nuts at the firewall was loose – torqued it to specifications. So far so good, just easy stuff.
I am happy to report that all 4 cylinders were in the mid to high 70s on the compression check – much to my relief, I didn’t want to shell out $1000 for a dead cylinder. Also, the oil filter inspection proved that my engine isn’t cannibalizing itself – another show-stopper. All of the oil and fuel lines were checked, there were no leaks and all fittings were tight. Although the baffling that supports the oil cooler is usually a source of cracks, mine was good, but I did find a small crack starting on the left oil cooler flange itself – I’ll monitor for now, it’s not critical at this point.
Moving to the fuselage I found that the right rear console side cover was contacting the flap weldment rubbing away the power coating – trimmed console. Also both landing gear bolts needed a little more torque and they aren’t easy to access inside the cockpit, lot’s of bloody knuckles there. It’s a good thing we have these inspections!
I was really hoping that I would get it done in a couple of weekends, but family stuff got in the way and I didn’t finish it until mid-September – oh well.
The last day of the inspection was dedicated to putting everything back together. The girls came out and ‘helped’ with that chore. It was a beautiful day and I would have loved to do a quick test hop and then take them flying, but the day was over and we had to get back to the house – I envy those who live with their airplane at a fly-in community, I drive 25 minutes each way to see my bird.
I’m happy with the inspection, glad I found some things and glad it didn’t cost me anything – an experimental aircraft that you built you are allowed to do your own inspections (and maintenance, of course).
Hopefully, next weekend I’ll do a test flight and get back to my normal flying routine!
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